This is part 3 in a review of the wonderful book on adolescent boys “He’ll be Ok: Growing gorgeous boys into good men” by Celia Lashlie.
If you would like to read the previous posts, you will find them here:
Intuition and Wisdom: The Hidden Gifts
If you are the mother of a gorgeous boy in year 9, then this chapter is a must read. It will give you hope that they will indeed grow out of the monosyllabic stage. Lashlie in her conversations with year 12 boys was often
“taken aback by their ability to talk in depth and with amazing insight about hte hard issues.”
Stop Making His Lunch: What Mothers Should Do
This is a very forthright chapter from the author. Lashlie’s own personal experience, coupled with the experience from the Good Man Project showed her that:
Mothers, particularly white middle class mothers, are overly involved in the lives of their adolescence sons.
The need for mothers to take a lesser role in this time of her sons life, is a constant theme through out the book. So what is it that we should be doing then? Lashlie has these tips for us:
In the context if what else is happening in the life of an adolescent boy, does it really matter that there were clothes thrown on the spare bed in his room?
Every bit of information you push into his head before he turns 13 and the testosterone starts to move stays in there and will eventually re-emerge.
The first decision he makes should be nothing more significant than deciding to get out bed to make his own lunch so that he doesn’t spend the day hungry. It shouldn’t and doesn’t need to be deciding to put his foot on the accelerator, running a red light and dying.
The advice that Lashlie gives in this chapter does fit already with my philosophy as a parent. That is, to let children do what they are capable of. I do know though, that I will have to work on leaving some of the “small stuff” alone, like a messy bedroom, messy school bag and propensity to leave things to the last minute.
When His Father Isn’t There: The Single Mother’s Journey
Lashlie herself was a single parent, so she is well qualified to talk about this issue. Again she notes that if she had the knowledge that she had now, she would have done many things differently with her own son.
I assumed that to ask for help would be to admit failure in the raising of my son. Asking for help from good men would have made the journey easier.
You can find the final part of this series on He’ll Be Ok here. After having Lashlie tell us how important it is for mothers to move aside and allow fathers to play a bigger part in the life of their adolescent son, we finally get to hear her advice to them. I have to say, it wasn’t what I expected.